After a happy Zwischen of long walks, batch cooking and listening to Kat’s affirmations, my surges began late on Saturday night. Over the next four nights and three days, we were at home, taking each surge as it came and staying calm and in control by using breathing and visualisation of a gorgeous beach we’d visited on holiday. My husband made sure I stayed well fed and watered, and read to me from diaries of our holidays to help me nap when the surges abated. We used an aromatherapy diffuser and dim lighting to create the right atmosphere.
As the days and nights passed, we used more of the tools we had ready – the TENS machine, long baths and gentle distraction in the form of favourite films. Knowing we were well prepared helped us to stay calm and focused as I tried lots of different positions to keep upright, forward and open and sway from side to side when the surges came.
On Tuesday morning we rang the birth centre to let them know what was happening and check they agreed we shouldn’t come in yet, as I wasn’t having three surges in ten minutes. I was becoming very tired but was still able to manage the surges – in fact, the sleep deprivation was by far the toughest aspect, not the surges themselves.
By Wednesday morning, the surges were starting to come closer together – they still weren’t quite three in ten but I wanted to go in. My husband trusted my instincts and called a cab.
I spent the journey with an eye mask on, listening to Kat’s birth preparation track, and had four more surges along the way. When we arrived at the birth centre we were asked to wait for assessment and although I was having quite powerful surges I was able to stay calm and in control, then tell the midwife what had been happening. She said that what I was describing sounded like the latent phase, but she would examine me anyway – then was very surprised to find that I was over 6cm dilated! She told us we were amazing and to keep doing what we were doing while she arranged for us to be admitted. This was one of the best moments of our lives.
Next I spent a few hours in the pool using gas and air, chatting happily to my husband and thoroughly enjoying the labour. Then I spent a little more time on dry land kneeling up and then doing squats to help the surges. The midwife advised me not to push even if I felt the urge, and by focusing on the playlist I’d prepared I was able to become intensely relaxed and follow this advice.
Soon I was ten centimetres dilated and ready to begin pushing. At this stage I was not experiencing any pain at all and put the gas and air to one side so I could breathe more freely. Soon the midwife showed me our daughter’s head in a mirror, which was an incredible incentive to find a little bit more energy! Then the head was out, and I just saw her starting to turn slowly before another surge came and whooshed her body out.
We had around four hours in the room where our daughter had been born, cuddling skin-to-skin and getting to know her. We were exhausted but felt so happy and lucky to have had the labour and birth we’d hoped for.
Throughout the whole process we had worked as a team, using the different tactics we’d learnt through Kat’s hypnobirthing course to stay relaxed and in control, listening to what my body needed and consciously enjoying the experience.
Our daughter is an easygoing, alert little person who quickly established breastfeeding and is growing, eating and sleeping well. We are certain that we have hypnobirthing – and Kat’s advice, wisdom and help – to thank for giving her such an incredible start.